Mypresentation is focused on the ning – an online tool for network-building.
Past July – opportunity to travel from Wpg to Phillie for a summer institute. A couple of weeks before I left for Philadelphia, invitation in my email to join a ningI joined the ning, and it became an important tool for learning, sharing resources, and ultimately community building, at the institute. Since this summer, I’ve learned how ubiquitous ning networks are online. Because I experienced the benefits of participating in a ning and because there are now so many ning networks online, I decided to do my presentation on this tool.
So first,what is a ning?Ning is a chinesecharacter. Thecharacter is a combination of Chinesepictographs that togethermeanserenity or peace.
In the technological sense,- A ning is a kind of social network – a place to discuss ideas, share resources, and make connections
Unlikesomeother social networkingtools, a ning startswith a specialinterest. The group of individuals whobelong to the ning come together around that specialinterest.
Here’smy best definition of a ning: A ning is a space where individuals can build a network around areas of mutualinterest. Themembership to a ning can be closed or open. The creator of the ning makesthisdecision. If the ning is closed, potential members need an invitation to join. In a way, it’slike a private club. If the ning is open, it can be searched online and anyone can join.
The ning that I joinedthissummerwasorganized around the summerinstitute. There were about 65 individuals whoattended the institute. The creator of the ning set up this network so that onlythosewhowereattending the institutewould be invited to the ning. This was a closed, or private, ning.Over the week of the institute, a really positive, creative ambiance wasbuilt as we met eachother and interacted face-to-face. This lent itself to increased sharing, especially of resources that had been created by participants in the institute. The ning became the online space where wecouldsharetheseresourceswitheachother. Having the ning as a closed network allowed for deeper sharing.. As the weekprogressed, more and more, participants in the institutewouldsay, « I’ll put this or that on the ning. » A few of us whohadneverparticipated in a ning before but wereenjoying the benefitsstartedcallingit « the magical ning . »
Unlike the ning for thissummerinstitute, as I mentionedearliersomenings are open and can be easilyfound online. For example, an open ning that I’vejoinedisorganized around developingpersonallearning networks. This ning is calledThe Educators’ PLN. It’s a larger network, with 1500 members. It contains links to somereallyinterestingvideo, othernings, blogs, and websites. Othernings that interest me includeClassroom 2.0, The English Companion Ning, and TechnologyIntegration in Education. I shouldsay that I found all of thesethrough the first ning that I mentioned, The Educators’ PLN.You can probablyfind a ning for anythingyou’reinterested in.
As I’ve learned more about nings, I’ve come to see that they’re not so magical after all. What they are is ubiquitous. The ning.com websitesays that there are currently 1.8 million ning networks.Try thisUse the following search criteria in google and see what you find …ORChoose any special interest that you have and search it along with the search criterianing networksWhat you will find is a multitude of nings online. Like everything else online, some will be good quality, and some will likely not appeal to you at all.
Once you’ve looked at a few ning sites, you’ll see that ning creators can customize their ning sites but they all sort of have a similar look. This is because there’s a defined set of tools that can function on a ning.…
Here’swhatmymember page looks like on the summerinstitute ning. Please note that I didn’task for the ad on the right-hand side of the screen that offerstips for a flat belly.
While the ning has much to offer, as far as I can tell it doesn’t …
As I said earlier, the way I discovered the ning was through receiving an invitation to one and starting to participate in it. This made me curious about nings in general and the ning as a tool for building a network, increasing communication and sharing resources. If you’re interested in exploring nings, you can start, as you might have a few minutes ago, by looking at the open nings that are online. If you find one that interests you, you could join it. That’s one way in. OrYou could start by creating your own ning. To create a ning, go to ning.com. As the creator, you will have the choice as to whether this is a closed ning for a defined group, or an open ning that anyone can join.
Creating a ning is very straightforward, but if you would like to see a tutorial for creating a ning, you could go to the URL provided in this slide. It’s an excellent tutorial for creating a ning.
Once you’ve either joined a ning or you’ve created a ning, you could also use the ning.com website to access all of the ning networks that you are a member of if you’ve used the same profile information, especially email address and password, for each one. On the ning.com website, you click on the “sign-in” link.
This takes you to the sign in page.
Which takes you to your home page. If you then click on ning networks, you will have a quick way of accessing all of your nings.
I can see the networks I’ve joined, the networks I’ve created and I could create a new network from this page.
There are several ways that using the ning as a tool in my work makes sense. First and foremost, I can see that joining a few open, online nings could be very informative for my work. The Educators’ PLN is just one example. In addition, I can envision setting up closed nings. I work as the supervisor and mentor for a group of writing tutors in a university environment. I can see the potential in setting up a closed ning for the tutors. The ning would be a place for private discussions, sharing resources, getting to know each other and chatting. I can imagine setting up a ning for a cross-institution association that I’m a part of. For this association, the ning could be used for sharing practical information about upcoming meetings, and for resource and information sharing. I can imagine setting up a ning for students in future courses that I teach to encourage community-building and discussion.Setting up closed nings, however, is still for me only a possibility that needs to be weighed against other possibilities, such as setting up a wiki. My natural tendency is towards the wiki, since the idea and experience of collaborative writing is very important to me. I also gravitate towards tools that have a clear structure to them, like the wiki. I like that there is a style guide for writing for a wiki. This gives me a sense of order that doesn’t exist with a ning. That said, the ning offers a variety of modes of expression, unlike a wiki, by offering discussion forums, photo and video sharing and chatting. And so, in the end, the ning and the wiki are two very different forms, either of which could be used with a closed group for information-sharing and community building, but with quite different outcomes.We already have a wiki, which is a great place for collaborative writing and resource sharing. A ning, though, would allow us to personalize our online space through the member pages and through adding photos, it would allow us to have discussions in a less formal way than the wiki, and it would allow us to chat. At this point, however, not wishing to overwhelm the tutors with too many online tools and not wishing to scatter our focus, if I had to choose between a ning and a wiki, I would choose the wiki. For sharing resources, I find the wiki far more organized than social network like a ning.
In the end,will the ning help build a more peaceful world? I guessitdepends on the purposes for whichnings are used. What I dosee, though, is that the ning can open up possibilities for increased network building and sharing.
Transcript of "A tool for network building"
The Ning: <br />A Tool for Network Building<br />